Posted on 20 November, 2019 | 4 mins
Happy customers are returning customers! Armed with information and spoilt for choice, customers’ expectations have reached new heights and businesses must rise to the occasion to deliver a positive experience. Quality customer service is key but, what do customers consider a quality service?
No matter the sector you operate in, it’s likely that the competition is stiff and, for your customers, the options are many. Every business strives to acquire new customers but, savvy businesses work to ensure they retain those customers and keep them coming back for more – and for good reason!
Repeat customers are precious; they’re good for your reputation (word of mouth referrals), they usually spend 20% more than first-time customers and have a 60 to 70% conversion rate.
So, if a happy customer is more likely to return, the next question must be how do you keep your customers happy?
The art of customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is an accurate measure of success and is tied to the customer experience. Positive customer experience is built on a quality product, at an appropriate price, however, more and more customers value personal business-to-customer relationships and two-way communication – quality customer service.
In a Customer Experience Report by customer service platform provider Gladly, three trends around customer service were highlighted, namely:
- customers care about the experience
- they want personal and personalised services, and
- service matters!
THE TREND: The customer experience
How you engage and interact with your customers is essential to delivering positive customer experience. In an increasingly digital and connected world, customer experience is moving online and businesses are turning to digital channels – social media, email, webchat, SMS, apps – to communicate with customers.
Yet, while it’s important businesses keep up with a multitude of these channels – different strokes for different folks! – consumers are more concerned with having a good experience on the channel they’re using at the time. According to the Gladly report, on average, consumers use three channels to communicate with businesses, and they value quick resolutions (62%), zero repetition (we’ve all been exasperated having to explain an issue again… and again) (62%), and that time is given to understanding those issues (60%).
From the Gladly Customer experience report: Trends and insights from 1,500 consumers about customer service
THE ADVICE: Focus on great service
While it’s tempting to invest in every digital comms channel at your disposal, focus on the channels that are suited to your customers’ needs and those that they’re already on. Then, ensure that you are providing a great and consistent service across those channels.
THE TREND: Consumers want a personal and personalised service
Individuality is en vogue and consumers expect to be treated as individuals, that means delivering a personal and personalised service. Something as simple as remembering a customer’s name can have a powerful impact. Not surprising, then, that giving a customer a personalised experience can help build brand loyalty.
For example, 75% of consumers surveyed for the Gladly report said they’d be ‘more likely to make a repeat purchase if a company provided personalised recommendations based on their needs and preferences’. A significant 54% of respondents said they’d made a purchase based on such a recommendation!
Moral of the story, you need to understand your customers and be attentive to their needs.
Fortunately, many businesses will already have the information (with permission of course!) needed to deliver a personalised customer experience. The trick is to put it into action.
THE ADVICE: Be personal, be human
Whether a customer service channel is managed by a person or a bot, ensure that the support feels personal and human. Use conversational language (drop the fancy prose), use personal pronouns (‘we’, not ‘the company’) and don’t be afraid to use contractions. Keep your messaging on brand and consistent and show your customers that you know who they are – use their first name, paraphrase what they’ve said to show you’re listening, acknowledge their feelings and demonstrate an understanding.
THE TREND: Service matters make it count
Customers are expecting more… and more. For those looking to stand out in an increasingly competitive crowd, the quality of customer service is an area well-worth your attention. Gladly’s report found that a whopping 74% of respondents felt customer service was an influencing factor on purchase decisions – an increase of 2% in 2017. To put that into perspective, the report found that a business stands to lose 84% of its customers after three poor customer experiences – 17% of them after the very first one.
What’s more, quality customer service – which starts before purchase and continues after – was labelled a bigger draw than a marketing campaign or a promotion by 77% of respondents to the Gladly report.
THE ADVICE: Build lasting relationship
We all have a spam folder filled with overzealous marketing campaigns that failed to hit the mark. Customer service is a more effective means of promotion in that it’s a tangible experience for a customer. It increases trust, can turn purchasing from you into a habit and creates positive stories that you can tap into – for example, a review or a testimonial.
Building that relationship with customers through positive experience, enthusiastic engagements and top-notch customer service not only helps to build a loyal customer base, but one that refers your business to friends, family, or anyone who asks! It’s an organic source of new customers and greater sales.
So, focus on delivering quality customer service and let your customers do the rest!